Reflections on the Old Testament: Isaiah and Jeremiah
“For a mere moment I have forsaken you, but with great mercies I will gather you. With a little wrath I hid My face from you for a moment; but with everlasting kindness I will have mercy on you,’ says the LORD, your Redeemer.”—Is. 54:7-8, NKJV.
In our natural sinful state, we are cut off from God. The sinless God cannot associate with sin, but hides His face from it, and forsakes those who are clothed in its filthy rags. Recall the words of Christ upon the cross—“My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?” Because He had become sin, Christ suffered the same anguish as our sinful race: separation from God. The consequences of sin are terrible, because sin is opposite to God’s nature. God is life and goodness, therefore sin is death and wickedness. God holds no communion with that which is opposite to Him. He rejects it, forsakes it, and turns His face away. Thus we are cut off from Him, and are subject to His holy wrath.
Nevertheless, He is not overcome by sin, that He cannot redeem His beloved creation. Rather, in His great mercy, He sent His Son to carry our sin—in short, to suffer God’s wrath in our stead—and thus wash away the filth with His own precious blood. By God’s amazing grace, we are redeemed, we are crowned as God’s own children, rescued, by His everlasting kindness, from the dark prison of sin. Recall Isaiah 54:7-8. God’s wrath against us is but for a moment—His kindness is everlasting.
“Has a nation changed its gods, which are not gods? But My people have changed their Glory for what does not profit.”—Jer. 2:11, NKJV.
The observation made in this verse is that the other nations are more faithful to their false gods than Israel is to the One True God. Indeed, why is it that, not only Israel, but every human being in the history of the world clings to what is false, empty, and unprofitable, and rejects that which is true, glorious, and blessed?
I am reminded of Romans 1:22-25, which says: “Professing to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man—and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things. Therefore, God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.”
We, as a depraved race, have no communion with that which is high, holy, and bright—just as light has no communion with darkness. Because we cannot reach the heights of God, nor span the gulf which separates us from Him, we sink still deeper into the mire of our sin, and worship and serve ourselves, and accept the lie, because the truth reveals all too clearly the terrible extent of our depravity. We prefer the darkness, because the light only reminds us how far we have fallen from God.
Because of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, that immense gulf is closed, and we are able to rise form the mire and enter the holy of holies. Christ intercedes for us daily and offers us His glory! The only ground upon which man refuses this is that he does not want to admit his depravity. The only way we may be cleansed of our sin is to first acknowledge that we have sinned. Men are afraid of this. They wish to remain in the darkness, that their deeds may not be revealed, that they may continue to worship themselves. They believe the lie, that they are not in darkness and that they have no sin to be washed away—in short, that there is no God. “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools.”—Romans 1:20-22.God has placed into all His creatures an innate knowledge of Him, therefore, though they cling to their false gods, exchange the Glory of God for self-glorification, and, in short, embrace the lie, it is only a desperate but futile attempt to suppress the truth they are unconsciously aware of, but have denied: that all men have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.